The Gift of Guidance

So, did you feel it this week? Oh that glorious weather, even if it was only for a few days. It had my heart soaring and my soul singing. Well, truth be told, it’s not just a spring feeling bringing that pep to my step, but something more.

     You see ladies and gentlemen, I have been in a slump. My get-up-and-go got up and went without me, and I have been feeling bluesy, bluesy no can do-sy. But this week, something really magnificent happened. In fact, it’s one of those incredulous experiences you see in the movies or read about in books, and hey, now you can read about it in a blog too. Here goes.

     First, let me introduce you to my little book of prayers.

My favorite book of prayers.

     I’ve been using this book for the better part of eight years and it provides me with clarity and focus for my day, calms my soul, and fills me with love. Who could ask for anything more?

     However, though I’ve been going through my usual motions, I just can’t shake this feeling of confusion and muck. On Wednesday, despite the gorgeous weather, I opened my prayer book with a sigh.

     Now I’d like to introduce you to exhibit B, my bookmark. This 6-inch piece of worn cardboard is worth more to me than diamonds, but of course, I’m going to have to explain this one.    

I use this bookmark in my prayer book.

      You see, I had always been super close with my grandma, Mary, as were all the grandkids. Growing up, I spent an extensive amount of time with my grandparents, and even at a time when teenagers tend to separate from family a bit, I never separated from them. Later, getting my license only allowed me to visit her and my Grampie more often, and on my own time. 

Grandma inscribed everything and would make Grandpa sign his own name too.

     In August of 2003, my 91-year-old granny was nearing the end of her time here on this earth. On August 18th, deep down in my soul, I felt I should go visit her. I drove to Staten Island and was greeted by my Aunt Marie at Granny’s door. She forewarned me that my Grandma was not doing well and that it might be hard to see. I entered the room, and though it was difficult, I am forever grateful for the time I had with her. Aunt Marie and I had the opportunity to sit with Grandma and hold her in a space of love. We kissed her, talked to her, and rubbed her back, as we knew that her time was coming soon. We stayed for hours, and though I wished we could be there with her when she passed, Granny left us and went to her heavenly home after we had gone back to our earthly ones. I got the call shortly after I arrived back in New Jersey.

      Hours later on that day, rummaging in a drawer looking for something, I put my hand on this bookmark and pulled it out. I read the front, flipped it, and read the back. My Granny and Grampie had sent it to me when I was away at college, and discovering it at that exact moment, it was as if she was saying to me, “I am always with you.” While it had always been a treasure, now it meant even more to me.

     Okay, now I need you to get in the Tardis with me and come back to the present.

There I was on Wednesday morning, sitting on the couch with my book of prayers, and feeling pretty low. I opened the prayer book, read the bookmark, and feeling her presence I whispered, “Help me, Granny,” as I shed a couple of tears.

Some of the journals in my closet.

     A few hours later I was putting laundry away. I looked up at the top of my closet and saw a bunch of my old journals. Dayum! I’ve got quite a bit of them. I then recalled that I had also stored some in my night table and I went over to peruse those. 

Some nightstand journals…in Grandma’s nightstand. I have her bedroom set.

     For a reason I can’t explain, I pulled one out, sat on my bed, and opened to a page. Hold on to your hats folks, because here’s where the plot thickens. I opened to August 18, 2003, the day my Granny died. On that day and the next, I wrote a total of 22 pages, chronicling my experience with her on her final day, and followed it with an outpouring of feelings, memories, insights, and understandings. 

     Believe it or not, I don’t even remember writing all this down! In the past 19 years I hadn’t recalled that I wrote about that day, nor did I ponder or seek to revisit it. And wow, so much transpired that I had completely forgotten about. I just kept flipping from page to page, agog at all I had written. As we go through life, there is so much we forget to remember.

     And as I sat there on my bed sobbing and reading, I felt a great peace in my heart. All the things that had been mucky and bringing me down now had answers. Those words I wrote almost 20 years ago about my Grandma and our time together actually contained the guidance I needed today, in the here and now. 

    I asked my Grandmother for help. She answered. After almost two months of not being myself, all it took was me asking for direction. Pretty freaking amazing, right? 

     And of course, that also made me wonder about all the other times I’ve asked for guidance. Was I tuned in to the response? Was I aware of the answers? Imagine I had not followed all those little gut feelings, those little voices within that said, “Look at your journals. Check the ones in your nightstand. Pull that one. Open it up.” I mean really, out of 25 journals, I picked THAT specific one and opened it to THAT particular page. I still well up at the thought of it all.

     Here is what I learned from this incredible experience. It’s so easy to forget when they are not here, but those who have left us are never very far, guiding us, supporting us, and loving us in ways we don’t even realize. That alone is enough to bring solace on even the murkiest of days. 

     Then, when you throw in the fact that guidance is always available, well that just kicks life up a whole new notch! A fabulous, loving, peaceful notch. 

    In this world where we turn to so many people and things to help us on our path, we sometimes forget to ask for guidance from our loved ones who have left us. Commune with nature, sit in prayer, go for a run…do whatever you have to do to get yourself in a better place and to put that spring in your step. But don’t forget to ask for support. They are always with us. 

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